April 21, 2014
Great Moments In Hockey History: Bill Barilko Scores
April 21st, 1951. The tragic Bill Barilko story is about the take place.
The Montreal Canadiens and Barilko's Toronto Maple Leafs are meeting in the Stanley Cup finals, for only the second time in history. The Canadiens pulled off an upset against mighty Detroit to play for the Cup.
The two Canadian teams combined for one of the most dramatic Stanley Cup finals in history. Every game went into overtime. Every game had a hero.
The teams split overtime wins in the first two games played in Toronto. Improbably Toronto would sweep the Canadiens in Montreal in games 3 and 4. Though both were tight and in overtime, somehow Toronto gained a stranglehold on the series that was not truly indicative of the parity between each team.
Toronto had a chance to win the Cup in game 5 on home ice. But it would not be easy. Montreal led 2-1 late in the game. With the goalie pulled and with just 32 seconds left in the game, Tod Sloan, who was every bit a hero in this series as anyone, miraculously scored to once again send the two teams into overtime.
This overtime would not last long. At 2:53 of the first overtime, Bill Barilko sneaks into the slot and one times a shot into the net past Montreal goalie Gerry McNeil. Bill Barilko shot the puck as hard as he could, so hard that he fell forward as the puck sailed into the net. The Leafs had won another Stanley Cup.
Tragically, Bill Barilko would never score another goal. With a real promising career ahead of the 24 year old, he would die in a float plane crash that summer. His body and the wreckage would not be found for 11 years.